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Three quarters of Japanese firms prefer a stronger yen - Reuters poll  

* 75 pct say desirable for yen to be stronger than 105 to dollar * Yen has slid around 6 pct vs dollar in past month * 73 pct say stimulus needed in case of further sales tax hike By Tetsushi Kajimoto TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The yen's rapid descent to six-year lows against the dollar is starting to push beyond comfort zones for three quarters of Japanese firms, a Reuters poll showed, highlighting the potential for profits to be squeezed as import costs climb....More

Auto parts executives indicted in U.S. on price-fixing charges  

DETROIT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - A federal grand jury in Detroit on Thursday indicted seven executives from two Japanese auto parts makers on charges of price fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Four executives from Mitsubishi Electric Corp were charged with conspiring to fix prices of auto parts including starter motors, alternators and ignition coils that were sold to six auto manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere....More

Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions  

(Adds AT&T, ZF Friedrichshafen, TransCanada, Enel, CRH, SUMA and Banco Espirito Santo) Sept 18 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday: ** More than ninety former business partners of AT&T Inc are demanding the Federal Communications Commision block the wireless carrier's $48.5 billion bid for DirecTV, saying the company engaged in anti-competitive behavior and violated fiduciary duty....More

UPDATE 1-ZF net debt seen at $11 bln after TRW deal -source  

(Adds financing details) FRANKFURT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - German auto supplier ZF Friedrichhafen's net debt will rise to some 8.5 billion euros ($11 billion), or about 2.4 times core earnings (EBITDA), after it buys rival TRW, a banker familiar with the deal said. Earlier this week, ZF agreed to buy U.S.-based TRW for $13.5 billion including debt, paying $105.60 in cash for each TRW share, or nearly $12 billion based on shares outstanding....More

Motor racing-Frustrated Alonso defends Ferrari brand and seeks unity  

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 (Reuters) - A frustrated Fernando Alonso reiterated his commitment to Ferrari on Thursday and took a verbal swipe at brand-damaging rumours in Italy suggesting he might swap seats with Sebastian Vettel to join Red Bull next year. The twice Formula One champion stressed his respect and loyalty to Ferrari in a heartfelt outburst aimed at unifying the team as it steers passage through a period of management upheaval and disappointing results....More

Kuwait Investment Authority says to expand Germany investments  

FRANKFURT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds and a long-term investor in German auto maker Daimler AG , wants to ramp up investments in Europe's largest economy. Speaking on Thursday at a ceremony in Stuttgart to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of Kuwait's investment in Daimler, His Excellency Anas K. Al-Saleh, minister of finance of the State of Kuwait and chairman of the board of the Kuwait Investment Authority, said the KIA would continue to increase its investments in Germany....More

Toyota recalling 20,000 late-model vehicles on potential fuel leak  

DETROIT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it will recall about 20,000 vehicles worldwide for possible fuel leaks. Most of the affected vehicles are in the United States but were also shipped to other countries, Toyota said. Toyota Motor Sales USA said the recall involves vehicles with its 2GR-FE engine. The recall includes the 2015 model year Lexus RX, and four 2014 model year Toyota vehicles: Avalon, Camry, Highlander and Sienna. Lexus is Toyota's luxury brand....More

UPDATE 1-Google, Mercedes, Audi get California permits for self-driving cars  

(Adds Google as having most permits, background from California DMV) Sept 18 (Reuters) - California issued its first 29 permits this week to three companies to test self-driving cars on public roads, state officials said on Thursday. Google Inc got permits for testing 25 adapted Toyota Motor Corp Lexus SUVs, and two permits each went to Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG's Audi, said Bernard Soriano of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are all luxury brand vehicles....More

VW's German workers will seek above-inflation pay rises-IG Metall  

* IG Metall eyes above-inflation pay increase at VW * 2015 pay talks coincide with VW cost-cutting drive * Union will set wage claims in November HANOVER, Germany, Sept 18 (Reuters) - German workers at Volkswagen AG will push for above-inflation pay rises next year, even as Europe's largest carmaker seeks to cut costs and boost flagging profitability in its core division, their main labour union said on Thursday....More

Mercedes-Benz, Audi obtain California permits for self-driving cars  

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz, the luxury brand of Daimler AG, has received one of the first California licenses for self-driving cars, the company said on Thursday. Earlier this week, Volkswagen AG's luxury Audi brand said it received the first such license. On Tuesday, permits for autonomous cars undergoing testing became a requirement in the largest U.S. state. Previously, automakers and Google Inc were allowed to test self-driving vehicles without a license....More
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